Overnight sleet and freezing rain are being blamed for the 100-car pileup that occurred Thursday morning in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area. The incident has claimed at least five lives so far, according to The Dallas Morning News, as first responders spent the morning combing through the wreckage for victims and anyone still trapped in their vehicle.
The incident occurred on Texas’ northbound I-35 highway that connects Austin with the two cities, shutting down the entire highway. According to the CBS 11 DFW, first responders had difficulty initially reaching the vehicles due to the slippery road conditions. The incident began around 6:30 a.m CST, and crews had most people rescued or removed about four hours later. However, Forth Worth Fire Department public information officer Mike Drivdahl said at a press conference that first responders would be going vehicle to vehicle, though he added, “There’s a lot of vehicles to go through.”
Multiple videos posted online of the incident show harrowing footage of cars and semi-trucks violently crashing into the pileup. Video of the aftermath reveals mangled metal and crushed cars. CBS 11 DFW reports that about 36 people were transported to local hospitals while seriously injured motorists were taken to trauma centres. Several were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Police also told the news outlet that cleanup would “take hours” and that wreckers would be needed to separate many vehicles, adding time to the recovery process.
The Forth Worth Office of Emergency Management set up a family reunification centre for those looking for loved ones who may have involved in the incident. One man involved in the crash told CBS 11 DWF that “You don’t see the ice, ‘til you feel it.” Icy roads can turn deadly quickly, especially in the dark when visibility is reduced.